The land is in Ravenna Township, located on S.R. 44 about a quarter mile north of S.R. 14. The donation increased the park district's real estate holdings by more than 28 percent, to
Park District commissioners "gratefully accepted" the donation made by Helen Dix, widow of Robert C. Dix, long-time publisher of the Record-Courier. The pact stipulates the land must be used as a public park for at least 50 years.
"I'm not doing this alone," Dix said of the donation. "All five of my children agree with this. We're doing this in honor and memory of Bob Dix."
Dix noted her husband's ancestors moved to Portage County in about 1815 from Connecticut to Palmyra.
"This county was good to my husband's family, and I think it's only fitting we should return something to the county. It's been a good county for us to raise five children," she said.
When asked by District Commissioner Allan Orashan if she would mind if the new park was named after her, Dix said she preferred it were named in honor of her entire family.
Christine Craycroft, executive director and secretary for the district, called the donation "another foundation stone in our park district."
She noted that use of Towner's Woods in Franklin Township is at capacity and that new funds are essential to acquire or develop new parks. The district has a 1-mill levy on the Nov. 7 general election ballot that would allow for purchase and development of new parks. Orashan said levy revenues are key to development of the Dix property.
Dix said she hoped more people would consider donating land to the district, and support the levy, to build a strong park system for future generations.
After signing papers transferring the ownership, Dix led Park District Commissioners Tucker, Orashan and Gary Cross and Craycroft and others on a hike through the fields and woods of the new park land.
Open fields and tall forest areas alternate across the acreage's rolling hills. Park officials talked about hiking trails and cross-country ski trails for winter and the possibility of camping areas for area Scouting groups.
The district holds title to the Towner's Woods Hike and Bike Trail and the Headwaters Trail in northern Portage. Towner's Woods Park in Franklin Township is leased to and managed by the district, but title is held by the county.